Union County, NJ — It began with a ruse to draw Gen. Washington’s troops to the lowlands and from there it became one long-running battle back to the safety of the Watchungs.
So, interested in walking a portion of it, with a local historian to explain some of the significant sites along the way?
Then join up with the FreeWalkers Saturday morning for an experience not to be forgotten, as the inveterate group, and veterans of the Battle of the Short Hills Historic Trail, take off from Metuchen, where the first confrontation between Colonial and Crown forces took place.
For details on where to meet up, go to meetup.com/FreeWalkers/events/239904779.
The event is free, with organizers asking that anyone interested get to the Metuchen train station by 8:30 am. Registration is on line and at Metuchen that morning.
“Join us for our 3rd annual historic walk where we mark the 240th anniversary of the Battle of Short Hills,” said Paul Kiczek, FreeWalker founder and organizer.
“Our walk to the memorial monument at Ashbrook is about 6 miles and we will follow the route of Lord Sterling. We then continue with our historian guide another 3 miles around the Ashbrook Reservation to Oak Ridge, where we will see the re-enactment of the battle fought by General Sterling against Cornwallis’ troops on June 26, 1777.”
Union County Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen said he was thrilled to see the Freewalkers on board for the event, which is drawing re-enactors from across the country.
“The FreeWalkers are always welcome in Union County,” Bergen said, noting the group’s frequent hikes along the East Coast Greenway, which runs through Union County parks, and their fall hike during Four Centuries in a Weekend in October.
For those who rely on mass transit, the hike begins at NJ Transit’s Metuchen train station. For train times, go to njtransit.com.
Because the FreeWalkers begin their Battle of the Short Hills hike at the station, over the years it has attracted participants from New York City to New Brunswick because the station is on the Northeast Corridor line.
“We are truly looking forward to this,” Kiczek said. “When we get to Oak Ridge, we will follow a group of re-enactors and learn what the strategy of war and what life was like for soldiers in those days.”
FreeWalkers is a non-profit organization with a mission of educating the public on the benefits of walking. For more information visit freewalkers.org.
The 240th Anniversary re-enactment of the Battle of Short Hills is a free public event sponsored by the Freeholder Board on Saturday and Sunday, June 24 and 25. It is a project of the premier non-profit living history organization, The Brigade of the American Revolution.
To get an early start on the weekend’s activity, visit Oak Ridge Park on Friday evening, June 23 for a free concert by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. The performance kicks off the Freeholder Board’s annual Summer Arts series of free outdoor music and yoga sessions.
More information on the Summer Arts series and the 240th Battle of Short Hills re-enactment is available on the Special Events Calendar at ucnj.org/calendar.
Photo: Courtesy of the Brigade of the American Revolution.
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